More than 1,550 measles cases confirmed in Brazil

SAO PAULO — Brazil's Health Ministry says more than 1,550 people have contracted measles as the country struggles to meet vaccination targets to stem the outbreak linked to neighboring Venezuela.

The ministry said Thursday that seven people have died.

The cases are concentrated in two states on Brazil's border with Venezuela. Health services have collapsed in the neighboring country amid political turmoil. Measles started spreading in Venezuela last year after the World Health Organization declared the Americas measles-free in 2016.

Earlier this month, Brazil launched a campaign to vaccinate all children between 1 and 5. The campaign is scheduled to end Friday, but only one state has reached the goal of vaccinating 95 percent of the target population. The ministry is encouraging local health authorities to extend their campaigns to reach the goal.

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